As my son and I headed off on Saturday morning and made our way to Whitefrairs College in Donvale, I marvelled out how lucky we all are to play in a competition that spans all of Melbourne and its surrounds. Nothing is perfect but the VAFA have been putting on a pretty good show for over 100 years and thanks to any army of supporters across this great city of ours, we not only get to play our great game but also travel the breadth of our great city and explore all it has to offer.
The Whitefrairs Campus is pretty impressive, set amongst gum trees and nestled at the bottom of a valley. It was a perfect scene to start Round 5 and our boys, as Boyd writes, kicked things off in style. That we couldn’t finish 4 quarters was largely a fitness issue and one we’ll work on no doubt but we played with passion and dash from the parts I saw.
We headed south west to Ormond Amateur Football Club where our Men’s team took on the Monders. Given our injury list, our Ressies fought bravely but were overrun but a strong outfit. The same cannot be said for our Seniors who took the game to Ormond at their home ground and outplayed them for 3 quarters. As we all know, 4 quarters is what’s required but I was hugely impressed by our performance and know if we bring that level of intensity in games to come we’ll get the results.
Our last stop of the day was St Bedes/Mentone Tigers down on the water. As many of you know, this was the club where Luke Beveridge began his coaching journey to AFL Premiership Coach and fittingly our dedicated and hardworking coaches guided our Women’s Teams to two solid wins against a newly promoted side who played a great brand of footy. With new Wellers playing their first games of football for OCGAFC or first Senior games, it’s a credit to all involved that we continue to grow and improve in all areas across our Women’s Football program.
The Tigers kindly left the lights on and Noah and I kicked a few goals. Not all the results went our way but every team gave their all and will do so again for the next game. Let’s not forget how fortunate we are to be involved in what is the best community based football competition in the land.
Go WellsAdam Kyriacou
If we were going to add another victory to our tally for 2019, we felt this was the game to do it.
With a motivating pep talk by the Mayor of Gordon Barnard, Mr Ken Schwab, the boys were fired up for a battle from the start.
We jumped out of the blocks and kicked a goal in the opening minutes thanks to Ebbage being true to his word to rattle the cage and duly did. We banged another via Oliver from a beautiful pack mark and when Little Anjou snapped truly, geez we were feeling upbeat. Another sausage roll from Oliver sealed a great quarter, our best first quarter of the season.
We were not just attacking the goals. Our intensity at the ball was ferocious and even though Whitefriars were younger and quicker, we were really playing a great style of football.
Augustes was playing a terrific game until an overzealous bump resulting in a red card and a two week rest saw him leave the field. Disappointed in himself, he regrouped and returned to the field where he took a strong pack mark.
Schumann continued to gain possession across the backline with great hands and Sampson was covering huge areas to support his team mates and apply pressure everywhere. It was an inspiring captain’s knock.
Tesoriero and Tan were playing their best games of the season but after half time our big forwards began to tire and the younger opposition started to get a roll on that were found hard to stop.
Two final goals via Oliver and Ebbage made the score more respectable, overall the start was a fantastic reflection on how we can play and the last half showed the need for preseason and regular training to be competitive in this league.
Great effort by all and we must bring a high level game this week against Old Brighton. We need to get as many numbers to training on Thursday to work through our game style.
Many thanks to Craig Sampson and Glenn Oliver for the continued game day support and for all our supporters. It really makes a huge difference to have people to help out.
Goal Kickers: J. Oliver 3, B. Ebbage 2, H. Anjou
Best Players: F. Sampson, M. Schumann, D. Augustes, J. Oliver, M. Tesoriero, J. Tan
This week saw us travel away to take on the recently promoted St Bedes / Mentone Tigers who were sitting third on the ladder.
It was again our quick start that allowed us take control of the game. We hit the scoreboard early kicking 3 goals 4 behinds to the oppositions 1 behind. Our work through the middle of the ground combined with our ruck work at the stoppages enabled us to move the ball quickly and our forward work and positioning converted our forward entries into a 21 point lead at the first change.
St Bedes responded with a physical contest in the second quarter, hitting the contest hard with good numbers around the ball. Thanks to our resolute defenders, we kept them scoreless with timely intercept marks across half back and plenty of run and carry from teammates in the backline. Our midfield continued to work hard at both ends of the ground and gave us our fair share of forward entries, however the defensive pressure of St Bedes Mentone meant that we could only convert 1 goal for the quarter to give us a 31 point lead going in to the halftime break.
Focused on ensuring we didn’t allow the Tigers back in to the game, the team responded with a dominant third quarter kicking 4 goals 5 behinds to take a 53 point lead in to the final change. The contribution from players across the ground was sensational and we continued our hard work, spread and ran the ball and took the game away from the opposition. Our key forwards presented strongly taking contested marks as well as creating contests and bringing the ball to ground where we had numbers at the front of the packs. Our run through the middle of the ground lifted with strong quarters in particular from our wingers and onballers.
In the final term St Bedes again mounted a strong challenging and controlled the play for the first 10 minutes kicking 2 goals. As is the spirit of this group, we again rose to the challenge with greater work rate and finished with a goal to take a 47 point win. It was pleasing to see us work the momentum back on our terms after St Bedes had dominated early in the quarter and looked likely to reduce the margin by more. It was great to see players also playing out of position and taking on the challenge.
It was a really strong performance to lead for 4 quarters and to achieve our 4th consecutive win for the season. Our contributions across the board were reflected with multiple goal kickers in Rhiannon Green 3, Amelia Robison 2, Sam Anjou 2, Maggie Wilson 1 and Eloise Defina.
Congratulations to Nikki Stickland who played her first game in the Seniors and it was fantastic to see Maddy Sloane and Greta Kaehne play their first senior game for 2019.
Thanks to the parents, friends, players and supporters who helped on the day – we now have a well deserved week off before we take on top placed Monash Blues on the 25th May back at Gordon Barnard.
Goal Kickers: R. Green 3, S. Anjou 2, A. Robison 2, E. Defina, M. Wilson
Best Players: E. Defina, R. Green, S. Anjou, S. Defina, A. Smith, S. Fortunato
Women’s Senior Coach
A long trip down the coast for our girls coupled with an unknown opposition provided a bit of uncertainty and nervousness in the rooms.
As has become customary this season, the first quarter was a hard fought tussle with both teams hard at the contest. Tiff Angelopoulos, playing her first game for The Wellers, led a new look midfield finding plenty of the ball and using it well by hand. Hannah Martin, in just her third game, was relishing some additional midfield minutes and provided our forwards with multiple opportunities. Whilst we couldn’t quite make it work in front of goal, we finished the quarter with a slim lead of 3 points.
With St Bedes kicking with the wind in the second, we knew they would push the ball forward. Sarah Kaehne was a rock in defence, taking a number of crucial marks and ensuring any forward push was stopped in its track. Kate Meehan and Joy Szeredi’s anticipation and run and carry off the half backline brought a smile to the coach’s faces and allowed us to take control in the back half of the quarter.
Our second debutant for the day, Annabelle Salmon, was thrown into the midfield and proved she will be a handy addition to the side. Her strength around the ball allowed us to break through and push the ball forward. Kath Bithavas has made the big move from defence to forward this year and when presented with an opportunity, kicked truly. We entered half time with a 2 goal buffer.
Having started poorly after half time the last two weeks the message was clear – attack the contest and lock it in the forward line. The girls responded brilliantly and some dominate ruck work from Meg Harper & Anna Swallows meant our mids had first use and a well-constructed wall locked the ball in our forward 50. Our 3rd debutant for the day, Eliza Dontschuk, showed an exciting turn of speed and game sense to create multiple opportunities. Whilst our forwards peppered the scoreboard, it wasn’t our most efficient return with 8 behinds for the quarter, thankfully Sinead Chaplin & Eva Fisher kicked truly ensuring we had a 5 goal lead at 3 quarter time.
At the 3 quarter time huddle we spoke about being efficient with our ball use and capitalising on the opportunity in front of us. Anna Sallows andEva Fisher did just that ensuring we completed a 4 quarter effort walking away with the 4 premiership points. We look forward to a well-earned Bye this week before coming back to face top of the table Monash on the 25th.
Goal Kickers: E. Fisher 2, A. Sallows, S. Chaplin, K. Bithavas
Best Players: A. Sallows, M. Harper, E. Fisher, S. Chaplin, K. Mckenzie, J. Szeredi
Stef AnjouWomen’s Reserves Coach
Another week playing one of the top 4 teams was going to be a tough ask for our boys to get their first win since Round 1, especially with the opposition playing highly decorated senior players in their forward line. It certainly gave the coaching panel a big headache all week in attempting to sort out the required match ups.
Unfortunately, we experienced a number of key outs from the planned team due to promotions & players unavailable requiring us to dig deep into our players reserves and we were able to add some toughness in Matt Hatsikostas with the skilful Harry Berry also making his way back into the team.
Another week, another positive start and we were able to match the Monders goal for goal in Q.1 which certainly took them by surprise with our endeavour and our forward line marking, which was something to behold.
Q.2 comes around and we take 10 steps backwards, unable to score a goal & conceding 5 goals 5 behinds, the key stat being that we conceded 16 more Inside 50s to the opposition, which was in total contrast to our efforts around the stoppages where we were running at +6, yet could not take advantage of that stat.
Q.3 became a grind and we were able to contain their forwards with some tough, tight defensive play keeping them to 3 goals. Q.4 was a disaster quite frankly & our system of play went out the window, along with our skills & decision making! This enabled the Monders to fly home with an 8 goals final quarter giving them an 87 point victory.
Our fitness was tested as were our reserves as our rotations were severely restricted due to injuries to Patty Dennis (collarbone) & Harry Berry (knee). Hopefully both these boys will be able to enjoy a speedy recovery!
A big week on the track for all of us this week. I am looking forward to seeing as many as possible seeking redemption for our efforts over the past few weeks against the PEGS boys from Essendon this Saturday at GBO.
Work hard boys, we are due!
Men’s Reserves Coach
After last week’s disappointing result at home, The Wellers were super keen to get back on the winners list at an overcast but dry E.E Gunn Reserve.
The first half was full of poise and discipline. We were adjusting well to a new game plan, ball movement was precise and pressure on the ball carrier all over the ground was intense. Rob Campbell was leading the way, dominating the middle and also getting forward with 2 timely goals. Key mids Nick Latsas & Jimmy Allen we’re enjoying some first class service and dominating the corridor. Across the ground runners Wells & McCollwere active through the middle and we kicked kick 5 goals to Ormond’s 2 and went into the main break 12 points ahead.
The third quarter saw signs that a good Ormond side were mounting a serious challenge but our boys were keeping to the plan and executing, extending our lead out to 21 points with goals from Kaiser & half back Lachie Powell crucial during the quarter. Swingman Andrew Parker was finding plenty of the leather and hard nut Harry Crothers was holding up many opposition attacks in a muddy centre.
The last quarter and Ormond again came hard, backed with a vocal home crowd. They gain some ascendancy in the 50/50s and will cleaner ball movement up forward, eventually ran us down in the end to snatch a come from behind victory. Our boys had worked incredibly hard for 3 quarters but tired late and made some costly errors in the end. Ormond made us pay to claim a 9 point victory.
It was a bitter loss after controlling most of the contest. The loss leaves us 2 & 3 and sets up a must win this week at home against PEGS.
I hope to see as many of our supporters as we can to cheer us home this Saturday. It makes a massive difference to have our crowd’s voice behind us.
Thanks to all helpers on the day and our supporters who travelled to watch the game. It’s great to see so many of you and we really appreciate your ongoing support every week.
Goal Kickers: R. Campbell 3, L. Powell, F. Wells, C. Hensby, J. Allen, T. Vogel, S. Kaiser
Best Players: R. Campbell, F. Wells, N. Latsas, J. Allen, H. Crothers, T. Vogel
Men’s Senior Coach